Beware of wildewragtigs!

I call upon our farming community, commercial or otherwise, not to spend any sleepless nights on the Malemas of our country.

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Don’t waste any energy on Malema and his band of Economic Freedom Wildewragtigs. Your collective energy will be much better spent on more pressing matters – such as trying to survive in an increasingly dysfunctional business environment.

I mention this, because in a conversation with Free State Agriculture’s Henk Vermeulen I learnt about farmers’ dwindling motivation to stay in the business of food production. These men and women are tired of being lambasted from all sides.

If it’s not the ever-increasing input costs, it’s farm violence and rural criminality, the drought, poor commodity prices – the list is endless. I’m afraid that too many of our farmers are going to exit the industry.

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Ai Boet, I live among you, them, and can sense the desperation creeping in like a dense fog, killing the courage to continue, to even think about tomorrow. It worries me endlessly.

This is why I’m pleading with you – don’t listen to windbags like the EFF. You have to consolidate your concerns, so to speak, and decide what you can and can’t manage, and take it from there.

Keep the faith. It will rain again. Livestock prices will increase. You’ve gone through worse times than this and survived. It’s been said ad nauseam, but you really do represent the very fibre of South African society.

One bit of good news is that government took a firm stand against Malema and his Wildewragtigs’ threats to disrupt rural and farming communities. However, this threat has in all probability just added another concern to your already emotionally over-taxed community. I know the 2014 general elections are rapidly approaching and that we can expect a lot of vote-scoring talk. But in this case the authorities seemed quite sincere, or as sincere as politicians can be.

But the fact remains that difficulties and challenges have always been associated with farming. Even the Old Testament prophet Habakkuk referred to the fact that the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herds in the stalls. But Habakkuk remained positive and kept his faith and joy.

I know it is a very tall order but I beg of you to do likewise.

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Annelie Coleman represents Farmer’s Weekly in the Free State, North West and Northern Cape. Agriculture is in her blood. She grew up on a maize farm in the Wesselsbron district where her brother is still continuing with the family business. Annelie is passionate about the area she works in and calls it ‘God’s own country’. She’s particularly interested in beef cattle farming, especially with the indigenous African breeds. She’s an avid reader and owns a comprehensive collection of Africana covering hunting in colonial Africa, missionary history of same period, as well as Rhodesian literature.